With only a short while to go before the elections for the European Parliament (EP), Greece was rocked with a new scandal. It has been claimed that the phones of the political party leader Alexis Tsipras has been tapped by the Greek intelligence service EYP. This comes after revelations that the phone and computer records of 50,000 people in the country have been followed while the phones of 10,000 people have been under constant surveillance by court order.
The surveillance of party leaders, MPs, NGO leaders and opinion formers following the legal and illegal tapping of thousands of phones for the purposes of terrorism prevention, national security and the observation of foreigners resident in Greece has shown to what new horizons Greece, the father of democracy in Europe, has carried its understanding of democracy. There is concern that the EYP, which has used voice recognition software and systems in its tapping of the phones of Tsipras, who was very successful in the May 2014 local elections, will use similar measures against the opponents of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras within his New Democracy Party (NDP), which is the major partner in government. According to claims voiced on social media, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, has tried to keep his private life and party dealings under the radar by using phones registered to different people, but was nevertheless flagged by voice recognition software. Another issue concerning the public is that the EP elections might come under threat of EYP interference. According to the popular Greek blogging site Kassapis, the EYP has placed heavy surveillance on opposition candidates who will participate in the EP elections, as well as individuals who work in support of these parties and candidates. While Greece seems to have shed away the anxiety brought on by the economic crisis, the significant rise of far right parties in keeping with the rest of Europe and the rise in the votes for NDP as well as Golden Dawn shows that it is not just the far right political will, but a fascist intelligence organisation that is settling in the country. That SYRIZA MPs routinely face parking fines and sympathisers of another political party, DIMAR, face closure of businesses and layoffs through EYP practices indicates that the Gestapo has been resurrected in the body of Theodoris Dravillas. It is not only politicians and Greeks who get a share of EYP pressure. Albanians, Macedonians, Georgians, Russians, Palestinians and Egyptians who number over one million in the country and some of whom have gained citizenship are also feeling the heat. Following the wave of immigration from Russia and Georgia which gathered pace in the 90s, people of Russian, Georgian and Azerbaijani origin were settled mainly in Western Thrace and while significant numbers of them have since emigrated to western Europe, there are still many who live in the Kavala-Serres-Dedegac region. These people are ordered to vote for the NDP and the Golden Dawn in the elections. While punishment for not following this order is open ended, the most basic practice these people are likely to encounter is being thrown out of the houses they do not own. For Albanians, which are described as “beggars” and “Ottoman seeds” in Greece, the situation is worse. Albanians who have won Greek citizenship in the last few years and who still cannot use their rights as citizens such as being public employees are threatened with being expelled from citizenship should they act “against national security”. With all this going on in Greece, there is not much to say regarding the Turkish minority. Being accustomed to such practices as now newly befall Greek politicians and Albanian, Georgian and Palestinian immigrants, the Turkish minority have to go through more in Greece, of which they have been a citizen for more than a century. It is not difficult to predict whether the right, the left or the liberals will succeed in the EP elections. The fascist administrative and intelligence pressure which is truly alive in Greece, the cradle of democracy, will in all likelihood contaminate the EP elections and ballot boxes.